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Best way to get storage increase flexibility with DSM running on ESXi?

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What is everyone's preferred way of virtual disk setup in ESXi and then in DSM Storage Manager to get maximum flexibility and ability to increase storage available to DSM in future whether it is allocating more datastore space to the VM or by replacing the drives backing the datastore with higher capacity ones one at a time (running hardware RAID 5)?

 

My situation is, I have 4 1TB drives running in hardware RAID 5. I am soon getting 2 more 1TB drives and am guessing I can add those to the RAID 5 array giving the array more storage in total. Then I can inflate my datastore to match so now the datastore has more capacity, but as we know even if I then increase the size of the virtual disks in VM settings, DSM will detect a bigger disc but it won't increase the size of the storage pool or volume. I tried JBOD and Basic storage pools (because I am already running hardware RAID, I don't need DSM doing RAID on top of that).

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29 minutes ago, flyride said:

Honestly, stop running hardware RAID and let DSM do what it's supposed to.

 

Alright, assuming I can pass through just those disks without passing the entire RAID controller.... I could try that, but.... isn't software RAID on DSM much more low performing than HW RAID?

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Technically there isn't such a thing as "hardware RAID" just a primitive CPU on a controller that doesn't have much else to do.  Some time in the past, that card was faster than the CPUs that were then available.  That just isn't true any more.  And your "hardware RAID" is the one in the motherboard BIOS right?  That's just software my friend, and not nearly as sophisticated as MDRAID in linux.

 

The very fastest enterprise flash SANs in my own data centers are NVMe connected to bus, and Xeon... totally software based.

 

I'm not sure why you don't want to passthrough your SATA controller, but if you must, you can try to RDM the specific drives you want XPenology to see, while leaving the controller to ESXi.

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21 minutes ago, flyride said:

Technically there isn't such a thing as "hardware RAID" just a primitive CPU on a controller that doesn't have much else to do.  Some time in the past, that card was faster than the CPUs that were then available.  That just isn't true any more.  And your "hardware RAID" is the one in the motherboard BIOS right?  That's just software my friend, and not nearly as sophisticated as MDRAID in linux.

 

The very fastest enterprise flash SANs in my own data centers are NVMe connected to bus, and Xeon... totally software based.

 

I'm not sure why you don't want to passthrough your SATA controller, but if you must, you can try to RDM the specific drives you want XPenology to see, while leaving the controller to ESXi.

 

I have an R720xd with a Perc H710P 1GB of cache. Ideally I would like to run HW RAID 1 from the Perc on 2 my two SSDs which I then create my OS Datastore on. Then pass all the other 1TB HDDs in the server onto DSM and do the software RAID in there assuming performance isn't affected much as you suggest. Although, from the little reading I did so far, it seems like the 710P doesn't support passing through disks at all? Let alone only some and not others.... New to this storage world so not sure if there is a way to make it work like the above.

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It looks like H710 for VSAN implementation is to set up each drive that will participate as a RAID 0.  Same config for XPenology.  So you should be able to do your RAID 1 for scratch and RAID 0 for everything else, then RDM those devices into the XPenology VM.  See this link: https://community.spiceworks.com/topic/748479-best-raid-controller-for-vmware-vsan-from-dell?page=1#entry-4213269

 

The more "native" approach is to obtain or convert the controller into a JBOD device.  Your controller is actually an LSI 2208 card.  So you might be able to flash it to stop being a RAID card and just make it a high performance SAS/SATA controller. See these links as a starting point:

https://forums.servethehome.com/index.php?threads/lsi-raid-controller-hba-equivalency-mapping.19/

https://forums.servethehome.com/index.php?threads%2Fis-there-a-way-to-restore-an-lsi-2208-after-firmware-update-failure.13237%2F

https://www.vladan.fr/flash-dell-perc-h310-with-it-firmware/ (this is for a 310 but has lots of relevant information)

 

HOWEVER, some reported problems with your specific hardware (ref PCI slots, controller firmware availability) here: https://forums.unraid.net/topic/51057-flash-dell-perc-710-to-it-mode/

 

Once you flash an "IT" BIOS, you won't be able to do the RAID 1 for the datastore.  You have a few alternative options (VSAN, manually copying between two datastore drives, etc) but I don' t think that you can do both RAID1 and non-RAID drive support on the same LSI controller.

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18 minutes ago, flyride said:

It looks like H710 for VSAN implementation is to set up each drive that will participate as a RAID 0.  Same config for XPenology.  So you should be able to do your RAID 1 for scratch and RAID 0 for everything else, then RDM those devices into the XPenology VM.  See this link: https://community.spiceworks.com/topic/748479-best-raid-controller-for-vmware-vsan-from-dell?page=1#entry-4213269

 

The more "native" approach is to obtain or convert the controller into a JBOD device.  Your controller is actually an LSI 2208 card.  So you might be able to flash it to stop being a RAID card and just make it a high performance SAS/SATA controller. See these links as a starting point:

https://forums.servethehome.com/index.php?threads/lsi-raid-controller-hba-equivalency-mapping.19/

https://forums.servethehome.com/index.php?threads%2Fis-there-a-way-to-restore-an-lsi-2208-after-firmware-update-failure.13237%2F

https://www.vladan.fr/flash-dell-perc-h310-with-it-firmware/ (this is for a 310 but has lots of relevant information)

 

HOWEVER, some reported problems with your specific hardware (ref PCI slots, controller firmware availability) here: https://forums.unraid.net/topic/51057-flash-dell-perc-710-to-it-mode/

 

Once you flash an "IT" BIOS, you won't be able to do the RAID 1 for the datastore.  You have a few alternative options (VSAN, manually copying between two datastore drives, etc) but I don' t think that you can do both RAID1 and non-RAID drive support on the same LSI controller.

 

Alright the RDM method sounds fine to me, good mix between will work for what I want without going super crazy breaking other things and flashing firmware etc.... Although I wouldn't be able to create an RDM disk to each RAID 0 array locally would I? It seems when I go to add an RDM disk to the VM in vSphere it asks for the LUN that the disks are on. But my disks are local RAID 0 arrays now in the host. Only have 1 host total and no iSCSI vSANs or anything like that.

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You want to look into "physical RDM" which can only be done at command line, not in vSphere.  One pRDM definition per RAID0.  Once the pRDM definition is built you can add it to a VM like any other device.

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i have RDM disks to DSM

SSD as datastore

and iscsi from that dsm to esxi :) - just for fun

Edited by luchuma

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1 hour ago, flyride said:

You want to look into "physical RDM" which can only be done at command line, not in vSphere.  One pRDM definition per RAID0.  Once the pRDM definition is built you can add it to a VM like any other device.

 

So method #1 here? http://www.vmwarearena.com/create-vmware-rdm-physical-compatibility-disk/

 

1 hour ago, luchuma said:

i have RDM disks to DSM

SSD as datastore

and iscsi from that dsm to esxi :) - just for fun

 

😂 The full circle of life ESXi 

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